This study grew from a desire to understand the charism of a Catholic religious congregation---the Congregation of the Passion---and how laity might integrate it into their lives. A charism is the guiding inspiration of the founder of religious congregations. The process of integration known as formation has until recently been the sole purview of the priests, brothers, or sisters who enter into the formal life of those congregations.
Since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Catholic Church has been undergoing a profound change in terms of lay engagement in its life and mission. The shift in understanding the rights and responsibilities of laity, based on their baptism, has created a whole new set of understandings on the meaning of the Catholic faith. Catholic religious congregations are exploring the role of laity, and are recognizing the need to have a formed, educated laity who have integrated their charism and thus are able to continue the mission of the congregation. Formation in the charism of a religious congregation was considered historically to be the norm for vowed members of religious congregations, but is now recognized as a spiritual gift to the whole church, including lay persons. This study explores various meanings of the term "charism" as well as the elements of "formation," and relates them to the experience of the participants in the study. This study also examines the historical development of Catholic religious congregations and of lay involvement in the Catholic Church. The study represents a qualitative analysis of the lived experience of those who have experienced formation in the charism of the Congregation of the Passion. The participants in this study consisted of vowed members of the Congregation of the Passion, as well as laity who are affiliated with the congregation in various ways. All of the participants had been formed in the charism of the congregation or are engaged with the congregation in a ministerial relationship. The findings of this study reveal that the formation process and integration of the charism includes personal, spiritual, and intellectual development; community interaction; and ministry or service to others. The findings of this study are limited in that they relate to one of many congregations and do not consider all of the facets of lay involvement. The findings point to the elements to be considered in understanding the spiritual development of laity serving various religious institutions in myriad ways, and are useful in developing lay formation programs related to charismatic formation.
|Advisor:||Williams, M. Willson|
|School:||Union Institute and University|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-A 68/03, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Religion, Adult education, Continuing education, Organizational behavior, Organization theory|
|Keywords:||Charism, Formation, Laity, Passionist|
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